On 20 April 2017 we had the pleasure of welcoming our NBCC Premier Members to the Residence of the Dutch Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr Simon J.H. Smits, for the NBCC Brexit Event. The NBCC Brexit Event is an initiative from the NBCC Brexit Forum, the front-line platform where NBCC Premier Members can share their thoughts and concerns with experts and policy makers. We had the honor of hearing Brexit experts share their view on recent Brexit developments.
We would like to thank our strategic partners ING, Clifford Chance, KPMG Meijburg, Clingendael, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, VNO-NCW, CBI and Department for International Trade for their valuable contribution to make these NBCC Brexit events a success. In particular, we would like to thank our speakers Robert van der Jagt (KPMG Meijburg & Co), James Knightley (ING Bank) and Philip Souta (Clifford Chance) for sharing their thoughts and expertise. Also, we want to thank our keynote speaker of the afternoon Mr Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for European Reform who shared his thorough opinion on the latest developments around Brexit, with regards to the consequences for the financial service industry in the City, Mr Grant stated that it is certain that The City will take a hit from Brexit. In his view it is certain to lose passporting, since the 27 member states consider that to be part of the single market. Whatever kind of equivalence the UK can obtain, it will be much less good for London-based financial firms that passporting. With regards to the upcoming UK elections, Mr Grant was certain that the UK elections may help Mrs May in the Brexit negotiations – not because they will strengthen the UK’s hand vis a vis the 27, but because a larger parliamentary majority will give her the confidence to face down the extreme eurosceptics who will try to intimidate her against compromise.
With regards to the chance of a Scottish independence Mr. Grant stated: “‘Scottish independence makes little economic sense, now that the UK is leaving the EU - the Scots trade four times more with the UK than the rest of the EU. But that doesn’t mean independence will not happen. The more that England is seen to be run permanently by right-wing Eurosceptic Tories, who are insensitive to Scotland’s needs, the easier it is for the SNP to make an emotional and non-economic case for independence.’
Mr Grant closed by stating that, “Business leaders have the ability to shift the UK’s political debate, and thus public opinion, on Brexit. If they explain how damaging a hard Brexit is likely to be, that will help moderates within the British government win some of the arguments on Brexit policy.’ Mr Paul Drechsler, President of the CBI, emphasized that there has never been a more important time for businesses all across Europe to be united. It is critical that European business leaders ensure their respective governments clearly hear their views on how to achieve the best possible outcome for all involved.